Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jerry the Journalist

"Teacha, in little whiles, I ejec from class."

Those words were spoken today by my most animated student, Jerry. He's one of the tiniest boys in the class but undoubtedly has the biggest personality.

He also has the hardest time pronouncing English words.

After cocking my head to the side and asking him "What?" in the sweetest teacher voice I could muster up, he repeated that statement. Still perplexed, I handed him a piece of chalk and pointed to the board.

He wrote "eject" and then looked at me and smiled.

I still didn't get it. Then it hit me.

"Ohh, you mean EXIT!"

He smiled, nodded and enthusiastically answered back, "Yes, what I mean!"

I still don't know where he was planning on going, but he stayed for the remainder of class and never made a grand departure.

I was glad for this, because Jerry is one of my favorite students already. I learned last week that he plans on being a journalist (hopefully for a Vietnamese newspaper, because there's no English publisher in their right mind that would hire him...yet) and he always talks with his hands when he speaks in front of the class. He likes to include me in his dialogues whenever he can, but normally doesn't have much patience for my response.

While his partner and him were nearing the end of their conversation about the weather in France, he looks at me and says:

"And what about you, teacha? You sinks is cold in France too?"

Having been there once myself, I smiled and said, "Yes, the weather in France is very similar to New..."

But then he waved his hands in my face and turned back to the class, continuing to describe a European country that he's never been to before. I laughed to myself, because clearly he wants to steal the spotlight. For my own enjoyment, I'm more than willing to let him have it.


  1. Nice personal touch. Maybe when your students, like Jerry, are using their English skills in future careers they will look back on these small blog entries about their development and say "Wow Teacha Kelly had an impact on my life".
    Tell Jerry that your Dad says Hi from New ....

  2. Kelly - I just caught up on several of your most recent postings. You really keep me entertained! It's hard to imagine you in front of a classroom of 50 students...How much methodology could you have learned in a 4 weekend crash course at St John's? You really are winging it, but some of your techniques are so creative. Do you scour the internet at night for ideas? I like what you have concluded about laughter in the classroom when learning language. When I studied Spanish at Cornell we had a teaching assistant who was a native of Puerto Rico. She did not have a teaching background. But she had such a lively way of inspiring reluctant students to engage in the language. Lots of laughter there too. Language is just practice, practice and approaching it from every angle. Written work, art, and don't forget music. Lyrics can be a novel way of getting students to speak the vernacular. Do your students have access to listening labs or something similar? Loved the posting about the pagodas...That An is certainly a good resource!